The city of Lawrence has agreed to pay the family of a 21-year-old Tonganoxie High School graduate $50,000 as part of a settlement for brain damage he suffered during a 2009 dental procedure.
Chief Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild approved the settlement Wednesday afternoon in the lawsuit brought by Austin Stone and his family. Other than the city, the terms of the settlement agreement reached with the remaining parties in the case was confidential, Fairchild and attorneys said.
The suit was filed in 2010 on behalf of Stone and his parents, Tara Passmore and Lance Stone, alleging oxygen and nitrous oxide lines were crossed during the design of Dr. Kirk Vincent’s new oral surgery office at 4811 Bob Billings Parkway.
The recent settlement came after a March mediation session in the case, attorneys said.
Fairchild had already approved a $3 million settlement in January in the case between Stone’s family and Action Plumbing Inc. of Lawrence, which installed medical gas lines at Vincent’s new office.
Stone had visited the office to get four wisdom teeth removed by Vincent on March 30, 2009, but he was injured and had to be hospitalized. He was in a coma after the incident and is now legally blind and has other health issues, according to court documents and past testimony in the case.
Attorney Jerry Cooley said the city was denying liability as part of the settlement.
“It was a case that was a real tragedy. There were wet eyes from lawyers as well as witnesses through the deposition process,” Cooley said. “And the young man has a lifelong alteration in his life. We certainly feel for that, and hopefully the money will go to good use for his well-being, as I know it will.”
The suit alleged the city had a duty to require particular inspections by certain medical gas installation experts. Cooley said since the incident the city has adopted an ordinance requiring a certificate by a certified medical gas inspector be provided to the city before an occupancy permit can be granted.
Other than the city and Vincent, remaining defendants are Patterson Dental Supply Inc. of Topeka; Blanchard Design Group LLC of Lawrence, the project’s architect; general contractor Design Build Collaborative LLC of Lawrence; and mechanical engineers Hoss and Brown Inc. of Lawrence.